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I would like to know why new users can't flag comments or answers on their own questions as "rude or offensive" unless they've got 15 points.

I'm pretty sure that especially when someone is new to SO and doesn't know exactly how the questions should be formalized - and let's be honest how many of us did read the FAQ right after registration - some comments to those newbie questions can be considered offensive. I also don't think that anyone should need to "earn" the right to report such comments.

For sure someone else might report them - but is it really necessary to expect someone else to "defend" you?

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    I fear many a hot-head newbie not yet familiar with the site will flag any comment pointing out a flaw in their question as offensive. How much of a problem is there really? As in, offensive comments on newbie questions that remain unflagged. – Martijn Pieters Sep 18 '13 at 21:46
  • @MartijnPieters being the author of hundreds (or maybe thousands) of such comments, I couldn't possibly agree more. – H2CO3 Sep 18 '13 at 21:52
  • @H2CO3 thousands? go check your SO profile 17k comments, holy heck. – Taryn Sep 18 '13 at 21:55
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    @bluefeet Oh, I've got an off-by-one error there. In the order of magnitude, that is. – H2CO3 Sep 18 '13 at 21:56
  • @Martijn Pieters Quality or quantity? I don't think that the question should be about the number of how many newbies have such problems? I can talk from my own experience when someone posted a comment which was in my oppinion in the category of "rude or offensive". I didn't have the 15 points to report it and to my surprise it even got upvoted 4x (!). The comment was their for a while and none of the'enough members who can flag' flaged it. When I "gaint" my 15 points and the right to do it myself, I did it and the comment was deleted shortly after that. So I don't agree with your fear! – Stefan Weiss Sep 18 '13 at 23:06
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It's the same reason we don't let newbies comment either. It just isn't necessary. We let them comment on their own questions and answers but not others because we feel they haven't gotten situated into the StackExchange.

You said

I'm pretty sure that especially when someone is new to SO and doesn't know exactly how the questions should be formalized - and let's be honest how many of us did read the FAQ right after registration...

and ironically I think that just makes the point even clearer. Because these new users don't know what a formal question is and because they probably didn't read the FAQ, they should not have any real reason to flag questions or comments.

I really like Martijn Pieter's answer for this as well in the comments above so I'm including it here:

I fear many a hot-head newbie not yet familiar with the site will flag any comment pointing out a flaw in their question as offensive. How much of a problem is there really? As in, offensive comments on newbie questions that remain unflagged.

From StackExchange's perspective, as I see it, new users should simply focus on asking questions, finding/giving answers, and getting to know the StackExchange culture. There are enough members who can flag already and we don't NEED more people to do it, regardless if they are qualified or not.

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    There's also the potential for abuse, if someone was to quickly create a handful of 1-rep sock puppets and start flagging competing comments. They might be able to accumulate enough flags for the system to auto-delete helpful comments by good users. We've seen people attempt this, even with the 15-rep threshold in place (and come down on them like a ton of bricks). – Brad Larson Sep 18 '13 at 22:12
  • I agree that newbies need to gain reputation and work their way around the community, but I have found some very useful answers to question I had and others have posted before me and it would have been good to leave a comment or at least vote up their answer to show appreciation. – RStrategist Sep 18 '13 at 22:29
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    @Brad Larson♦ Abuse is always an issue, but if you have a look at my question again, you will see that it's about the possibility to flag "only" comments to your own question. I assume you missed that point... – Stefan Weiss Sep 18 '13 at 22:50

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